Booze: 6.5 is the magic number

Well, not so magic according to Ipswich police. It’s the number of death.

Ipswich police in their infinite power are ‘encouraging’ off licenses to stop selling 6.5%+ beers and ciders due to their association with problem drinkers. They’re also saying that if off licenses refuse to voluntarily have their license changed to prohibit the sale of high strength beers, there could be ‘issues’ and 'objections' come license review time.

This is fucked up. Yeah, there are problem drinkers but surely that’s only a small number compared to those of us who drink sensibly? We’re getting punished for wanting to drink a tasty glass of Duvel at 8.5% after a hard day’s work. We’re getting kicked to the ground like Carlsberg Special Brew drinkers. Hey, let’s all just do what they want us to do and drink our 2.7% cans of Skol.

What’s more is that Co-Op and Tesco have stopped selling 6.5%+ beers in ALL of their Suffolk stores already, before they even have to. This means that in the county where Adnams Innovation is brewed, you can’t even go to your local fucking co-op and buy a bottle as it’s 6.7%.

So, why are Suffolk police doing this? Well it’s simple really, it’s to stop people from street drinking. Apparently some of these street drinkers are drinking 10-12 cans of super strength lager a day. Yep, I can definitely see this working. Wait, actually, no I can’t; they’ll just drink double the amount of lower ABV beers because, for instance a 4 pack of Carlsberg Special Brew at 9% costs £8 for 4 whereas 8 cans of regular Carlsberg (3.8%) in your standard off license costs exactly the same. They’ll still drink exactly the same amount but with more empty cans on the ground. Or worse, they’ll move on to spirits which will do a lot more damage to them and probably result in more deaths (I’m not a fucking doctor, OK?).

Suffolk police are also saying that another reason to do this is that 4 street drinkers have been murdered in Ipswich in the last 3 years. Woah. Holy fuck. I am never leaving my house again. If I’m drunk in public I’ll probably get murdered. Oh do fuck off. I honestly don’t understand the point they’re trying to make here.

Ok, so back to the licensing thing… Suffolk police are saying that if off licenses don’t voluntarily change their license, there may be issues or ‘objections’ come review time. What the fuck is this bullshit? Abuse of power is exactly what it is. Surely, as Tim pointed out on Twitter, it’s coercion? I mean, surely if it’s not illegal for a shop to sell a product the police can’t say “Either stop selling it or we’ll force you to; or worse, we’ll take down your business”, can they? This is how the words ‘issues’ and ‘objections’ are reading to me.

It’s all straight up bullshit. What we need is EDUCATION, not PROHIBITION. We need the correct measures in place to SUPPORT problem drinkers. We don’t need DICTATORSHIP.

I’m not gonna lie, I like a drink or two. Hell, I even like to get drunk sometimes but I’ve learned to respect alcohol after growing up and seeing how my dad was. I’ll tell you something personal, my dad was an alcoholic. It was really fucking difficult for me growing up, seeing my dad constantly drinking super strength lager and being asleep on the sofa. I had no relationship with my dad. What it took for him to wake the fuck up and actually realise that he needed to quit was almost dying. I’ve seen my dad at the lowest point and I could never be like that. I’ve basically had it scared into me to not go overboard.

This is why we need education, because anyone could fall into this trap if they’re not careful. I don’t know what pushed my dad over the edge into it but it happened and it affected me deeply. Right now, what we need is education. We need to say to kids “look, it’s OK to drink. Just be careful. Everything in moderation”. Prohibiting won’t work as the human brain doesn’t register negatives in the way that we think they should. We all know that telling someone they can’t do something often makes them want to do it more and it’s not out of rebellion, it’s simple neurology. We need the support there to help people like my dad which luckily we were able to find for him.

So, let’s recap; it’s utter bullshit to punish us sensible drinkers because of the minority of problem drinkers, Suffolk police are just wrong and we need 2 things in order to stop problem drinking:


For the record, my dad has been sober for about 7 years now and he’s awesome!



  1. Shocking! Can you believe we live in 2013? The police have no control or say over what a shop can and cannot sell.
    I swear this government will not be happy until all the pubs are closed down, all the supermarkets stop selling beer and we then have no booze what so ever....
    If Suffolk can do it chances are it'll spread country wide..

    1. Indeed. I just don’t get what they think they’ll achieve by this.

      My main concern is that we’re right next door to Suffolk so it’s likely that we’ll be next.

  2. Nice piece mate and I couldn't agree more. Too long have sensible drinkers been hammered on the back of stopping tramps, crack heads & general low life's drinking over strength cheap piss on our streets.
    Capping beer strength will not help as they'll move on to vodka, meths, glue or whatever.
    I wrote something similar about 14 months ago

    Not the same I know but similar reasons were at the root cause. Glad to hear your Pop is doing so well.


    1. Cheers buddy.

      Yep, it's a totally similar thing. Stopping us from doing what we enjoy because of the minority.

  3. well I live in Ipswich so am seeing this in action on my doorstep and I could probably bore you all to tears about the subject, but all Ill say is rather than commenting directly on the debate, I spoke directly to the East of England Co-op about this, and they assured me products like Duvel (thought frankly youd struggle to find that on sale in Ipswich anyway, Aspalls is by far the more obvious connection to make) are not covered by their recommended withdrawn product list.

    and the proof is in the pudding as they say AFAICR (I popped in the Co-op on Monday though arguably that was last year) they still sold Aspall Ciders >6.5%, the local Tescos to me in Ipswich currently has Henry Westons Vintage 2011 cider 8.2%, Aspalls Premier Cru 7%, Wychwood King Goblin 6.6%, Leffe Blonde 6.6% and even some Carlsberg special brew 9% if it takes your fancy,and I bought some London Golden pride 8.5% there just before Christmas

    the new Ipswich Waitrose (again who've signed up to the campaign) sold me Fullers Vintage 8.5%, Leffe Blonde again as well as the Aspalls Premier Cru. the Ipswich Aldi's were selling the Batemans Vintage 7.5% just before Christmas. Sainsburys didnt and dont have a problem selling JW Lees Manchester Star Ale 7.3%, some of the St Peters beer (IPA & Christmas ale) in their range can be over 6.5% too. though I havent recently I have purchased Green Jack Baltic Trader 10% in Ipswich.

    so Im not saying move along nothing to see here, or theres not a problem because it doesnt affect us, or that every shop is selling the same stuff (I cant account for the 130 off licenses they claim let alone visit them all), far from it, I just think theres a heck of alot more to this, certainly way more history to it, than I think people currently understand from the coverage/discussions going on that Ive seen about it

    1. To be honest, I wasn't aware there was a recommended product list. It's another one of those things the media likes to miss out.

      I'm just saying it's a load of crap. If people want to drink high abv beers like Carlsberg Special Brew, let them.

  4. I do believe in controlling drugs, but I don't believe in banning things. So I reckon the simple solution to all these alcohol-related problems numpty politicians are trying to solve is to change the law so that it's the quantity of pure ethanol that is taxed, rather than "a pint of beer" and "a pint of strong beer" or whatever antiquated nonsense they use currently.

    Remove all the thresholds and just tax the drug, removing the need for minimum pricing - without a windfall for the distributors, and removing the need for stupid measures like these.


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